Gaia detects the most massive black hole of stellar origin in the Milky Way

On April 16, 2014, we have published the discovery of a massive black hole during validation thanks to DR4 data from the Gaia mission. It is an object of 33 solar masses located less than 2,000 light years from Earth, in the constellation of Aquila, the Eagle. These types of black holes have been previously found through gravitational wave observations. Now, for the first time, such a massive black hole of stellar origin is detected within the Milky Way. Gaia-BH3 (as the new object has been called) has a giant star orbiting around it with a period of 11.6 years. The astrometric data that Gaia has acquired over 5.5 years has made it possible to precisely know the orbit of the system and thus obtain the mass of the black hole.

The discovery of Gaia-BH3 is just one example of what Gaia data will provide us in the coming years.

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